Vol. 5 Num 263 Tue. February 22, 2005  
Front Page

WB to provide $200m for health sector

The World Bank's soft loan wing the International Development Association (IDA) has agreed to give US$200 million for the Health Nutrition and Population Sector Programme (HNPSP).

A five-day negotiation meeting between a Bangladesh delegation and the IDA officials for the proposed credit ended on February 18 in Washington DC.

The Bank official said the documents of the agreement will now be presented to the World Bank board by March 31, 2005, for final approval.

The main purpose of the HNPSP is to reach healthcare to the poorest of the poor. It also focuses on certain vital areas to increase availability and utilisation of user-friendly, effective, efficient, equitable, affordable and accessible quality healthcare services, be it essential services delivery, improved hospital services, nutritional services or other selected services.

For nutrition services, a large number of private and NGOs will be engaged to enhance utilisation and awareness about nutrition.

The poor will be given vouchers to purchase health services from an accredited provider of their choice.

"If successful, the use of health vouchers could result in a significant reallocation of public funds towards the health needs of the poor people," an official of the health ministry said.

To achieve these objectives, the programme will focus on three major reform areas: (i) strengthening public health sector management and stewardship capacity through development of pro-poor targeting measures as well as strengthening sector-wide governance mechanisms; (ii) health sector diversification, through the development of new delivery channels for publicly and non-publicly provided services; (iii) stimulating demand for essential services by poor households through health advocacy.

The HNPSP is also supported by a large group of development partners, who will together contribute about one third of the costs of $ 3 billion over the next 5 years.